HealthDay News – A collaborative couples telephonic intervention is associated with significant improvement in hemoglobin A1c (A1C) levels, according to a study published online July in Diabetes Care.

Paula M. Trief, PhD, from State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 280 couples, among whom one partner had type 2 diabetes and A1C level of ≥7.5%. 

Patients were randomized to couples calls (n=104), individual calls (n=94), and diabetes education (n=82). All arms had 2 self-management education calls; couple calls and individual calls had 10 extra behavior change calls. Patients were assessed at 4, 8, and 12 months.

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Overall, researchers identified significant reductions in A1C for all interventions, with no differences between arms (12 months: couple calls −0.47%; individual calls −0.52%; and diabetes education −0.57%). In within-arm analyses stratified by baseline A1C tertiles, the lowest tertile for A1C (7.5%−8.2%) had no change from baseline; the middle tertile (8.3%−9.2%) had significantly lower A1C levels only with couple calls; and the highest tertile (9.3% or greater) had significant improvement for all interventions. 

Couple calls correlated with significant improvement in body mass index, and couple calls and diabetes education resulted in reduced waist circumference.

“In adults with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, a collaborative couples intervention resulted in significant, lasting improvement in A1C levels, obesity measures, and some psychosocial outcomes,” the authors wrote.

Disclosures: Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Roche, which provided some material support.


Trief PM, Fisher L, Sandberg J, et al. Health and psychosocial outcomes of a telephonic couples behavior change intervention in patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes: a randomized clinical trial. Diabetes Care. 2016. doi: 10.2337/dc16-0035.